Michael Jackson Shocked Fans With the Crotch Grab Move Over 30 Years Ago
Movies, television, and music videos have evolved so much over the last 30 years, that it is hard to remember a time when audiences were shocked by musicians like Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson‘s dance moves. In 1991, Jackson was perhaps at the height of his fame almost a decade after his iconic music video “Thriller” was released. The first single “Black or White” from his new record dropped on November 11, 1991, and had a big premiere for the music video on MTV, BET, VH1, and Fox Network.
The video was an impressive 11 minutes and millions stuck around after The Simpsons to check out his latest track. He created the video with “Thriller” director John Landis for one of the most expensive music videos of all time with a $4 million budget. The music video featured cameos by stars Macaulay Culkin, Tyra Banks, and George Wendt as well as some impressive special effects. Even with all of that, the thing that people remember most is that damn crotch grab.
The next day, the music video got so much backlash from that one scene that Jackson had to cut the full dance sequence from future airings. A censored version of “Black or White” played on television from then on. Networks said they got so many complaints after the music video aired that they couldn’t believe it. Jackson ended up issuing an apology.
It read, “It upsets me to think that ‘Black or White’ could influence any child or adult to destructive behavior, either sexual or violent. I’ve always tried to be a good role model and therefore have made these changes to avoid any possibility of adversely affecting any individual’s behavior. I deeply regret any pain or hurt that the final segment of ‘Black or White’ has caused children, their parents or any other viewers.” Ultimately though, the album’s sales were not really affected by the controversy.